Wednesday December 14, 2011
What is it?
U.S. Army is implementing a new phase in the Patriot Express (PE) Department of Defense-chartered air travel originating at Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) and transiting to Ramstein Air Base (RAB). Starting Feb. 6, 2012, all Department of the Army personnel and family members incoming to U.S. Army in Europe on permanent change of station (PCS) orders with assignments in Germany will use the twice-weekly flights from BWI as the first option of travel. Returning personnel stationed in Germany and PCSing to the continental U.S. may also use the flights to BWI as their primary air transportation method. The Army also considers PE flights as a viable transportation method for travelers from Germany on temporary duty (TDY) orders to the Baltimore/D.C. area.
What has the Army done?
USAREUR proposed shifting the current USAREUR Gateway Reception operations from Frankfurt International Airport to RAB to improve force protection and anti-terrorism capabilities for the Army and personnel traveling to and from Germany. USAREUR created PE in coordination with U.S. Transportation Command, U.S. European Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and it is available to all DOD service members, civilians and family members. The Army has updated the assignment and verification processes and coordinated changes to instructions with HRC. The Army is also providing instructions through a MILPER message to Soldiers on assignment to Germany.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
USAREUR and Installation Management Command-Europe will continue to update their Web sites for newcomers to include a Frequently Asked Questions page to address general and new information in preparation for PE and plan for the closure of reception operations at the Frankfurt Airport. The European Assignment/Sponsorship Integrated Gateway welcome letters will be continually updated to reflect the transition to the PE so that incoming personnel and sponsors can be better informed and prepared.
Why is this important to the Army?
Reception operations at RAB will increase force protection by providing secure departure and arrival points and a tighter span of control of inbound and outbound personnel. RSO employees at RAB will track flights and possible delays, and receive incoming personnel upon arrival. The PE also adds quality of life for its patrons by offering all the amenities of a traditional international commercial flight, as well as affordable pet travel and processing by military veterinarians and arrival at an English-speaking airport. In addition, vacant seats on the PE may be used for Space-Available Travel, thus increasing opportunities for personnel on leave status to travel to and from Germany and the Baltimore-D.C. areas.
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"Now that we're coming back (from theater), we're going to see our training to support this Army become much broader. And part of that training will be modeling and simulations."
- Lt. Gen. Keith C. Walker, deputy commanding general of Army Futures, and director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command headquartered at Fort Eustis, Va., led a three-day seminar in Washington, D.C., Dec. 6-9, which examined issues critical to current and future Army force development.
"The difference in 'first aid' and 'first responder' is an emphasis on the caregiver being able to do everything required to keep an injured person alive … There is no way to predict every emergency situation or who will be the first responder when emergency care is required. The more people trained and competent to provide care, the better."
- U.S. Army Africa Command Sgt. Maj. Hu B. Rhodes
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